Ireland, The Highlights – Ireland Part 3

Cycling the majority of the Wild Atlantic Way, from Cork to the Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland. Here are some of the highlights of the 1089 mile journey:

The Beer

You can’t visit Ireland and not drink a few pints of the black stuff. Apparently it’s for strength and it’s good for you. I drank a few of these along the way and I made it to the end, so it didn’t hinder my progress too much.

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Guinness Brewery, Dublin

Quiet back roads

A cyclist’s heaven can be found only a few roads away from the main tourist route of the Wild Atlantic Way. Stunning passes and almost deserted roads can leave you feeling in the middle of nowhere:

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Stunning views on quiet passes

The Skelligs

Once a peaceful and remote monastery on a jagged little island off the west coast, now better know as the hiding place of Luke Skywalker. The Skellig islands do not look real with their winding steps leading upwards towards the monastery. A boat trip is required to visit the island, booking in advance is advised.

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Skellig Michael and the steps leading up to the 6th century monastery

The Wildlife

Following the coast there is always the possibility of spotting seals and dolphins. I saw both on my boat trip to the Skelligs, leaving me to focus on the thousands of birds, horses and other tiny creatures along the way.

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Family of mice, Downpatrick Head

The People

It was always a warm welcome, the smaller the village the better the reception. From chatting in pubs, some packed up extra food at breakfast and drinking tea with the hosts. To enter the homes and B&Bs of the locals and stay the night is to enter into the heart of the communities and see how these often isolated settlements stick together.

The Greenway

You can’t expect all roads to be quiet and beautiful, so where it gets occasionally busy it’s nice to have an alternative, and the Great Western Greenway is a delight. Scenic and relaxing, what cycling is all about.

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The traffic free Great Western Greenway

The Views

The scenery is always changing; beaches, cliffs, dominant rock formations, moor land, farm land. Travelling by bicycle allows you to stop wherever the view grabs you, no need to look for a parking spot.

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Sliabh Liag

The Cliffs of Moher

I heard a rumour (I have not checked if it’s true) that Star Wars have been filming in Ireland again, this time at the Cliffs of Moher. Huge weather beaten cliffs that offer great views when the weather allows, and you can just cycle up and walk around for free (you pay to park your car).

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Cliffs of Moher

The Burren

A beautiful landscape, where a vast cracked pavement of glacial-era limestone dominates the land.

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Wet and windy morning heading north through the Burren National Park

The Giant’s Causeway

Once again it’s free to visit by bicycle. This popular landmark is a UNESCO world heritage site. A unique rock formation that marked the end of my journey along Ireland’s coasts.

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Northern Ireland’s Giant’s Causeway

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